15 Things You Can Steal From Cruise Ships (Without Getting in Trouble)

Have you ever found yourself wondering: “Are we allowed to take these?”

Me too. When you’re on a cruise, there can be a fine line between what’s okay to pop in your beach bag and what’s not.

Be careful though! If you steal something that’s not okay to take, you could face being evicted from your cruise… like these guests who tried to steal the tableware on P&O Cruises Arvia in the Caribbean…

Screenshot of a social media comment from Debbie, recounting various misdemeanors on a cruise, such as 100 people being removed, a wedding party fight, intimate moments in a hot tub, a man beating his wife, attempted theft of salt and pepper pots, and a wife throwing her husband's clothes overboard.

So, to avoid any embarrassment (or jail time) here’s a list of the things that you’re allowed to take on your cruise…

1. Miniature toiletries

Spacious cruise ship bathroom featuring a clean white sink with miniature toiletry bottles lined up on the counter, a glass shower stall in the background, and neatly folded white towels stacked on the shelves.

If your cabin comes with little bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash or a bar of soap, then yes, you can take it home with you at the end of the cruise.

After you leave, that part-used bottle is going straight in the bin, so by taking it home to finish it, you’re actually doing the planet a favour.

What’s not okay, however, is if you take the big refillable bottle from the shower. Yes, some people do this! But it’s in no way allowed.

It will be pretty obvious who stole it so you can expect to receive a bill at the end of your cruise.

2. Notepads and pens

My hand holding an Avalon Waterways branded wooden pen with a sleek design and metal accents.

I love cruise ship pens and I have quite a collection!

In most cabins, you’ll find a little notepad and a pen on the desk. It’s perfectly okay to take these, the cabin steward will simply replace them for the next guests.

3. Postcards

My hand holding a brochure from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines with a collection of postcards featuring cruise ships, alongside a filled-out entry form and colorful brochures spread out on a table, indicating travel planning or booking for a cruise.

Some ships also give you a postcard with a picture of the ship on it. The idea is that you can write on it and post it to a friend at home while you’re in port.

I never do that though, I just put it in my suitcase and bring it home. Maybe I’ll frame them all one day.

4. Puzzle sheets

Many cruise ships offer free puzzle sheets with crosswords or sudoku. While you shouldn’t take more than you need, it’s okay to take some of these to fill in while you relax with a coffee.

5. Your cruise card

My hand holding a stacked deck of various cruise cards with the top card featuring an image of a turtle swimming in clear blue waters, representing a collection of cruise line membership or loyalty cards.

Your cruise card is yours to keep at the end of the cruise. Some people throw them away, but I’ve kept every single one of mine as a souvenir, which is quite the stack these days!

6. Pool towels

Vibrant yellow pool towels neatly rolled and stacked on a shelf in a cruise ship spa, with whimsical white towel animals, including an elephant and rabbits, playfully arranged on the wooden cabinet below.

Cruise lines have no problem with you taking their towels ashore to use as beach towels. All they ask is that you bring them back!

Some cruise ships have a check-out system for the towels and if you lose yours they will charge you $20-$30. Others just have stacks of towels by the pool so you can help yourself to as many as you like. 

That doesn’t mean that you should take advantage of that though.

Someone did once tell me how they couldn’t be bothered carrying their heavy cruise ship towel around town so they gave it to a homeless person. I suppose that’s better than ditching it, but its still not ideal.

7. Cable tidies

My open palm displays a multi-use charging cable with a USB on one end and both a USB-C and micro-USB connector on the other, neatly secured with a branded 'WINDSTAR CRUISES' cable tidy strap.

On luxury cruise ships like Windstar and Disney, your cabin attendant will tidy the wires from your devices with a little velcro attachment.

I’m pretty sure you can take this home with you. I did. Unfortunately, I’m still not tidy enough to ever use it.

8. Souvenir glasses

My hand holding an empty MSC Cruises branded champagne glass with a staircase in the background, suggesting the glass is a souvenir kept from a cruise vacation.

Most cruise ships give you the option to purchase drinks that come in souvenir glasses. These cost a little more than regular drinks and they’re not included in your drinks package. But you are allowed to take the glass home with you.

Just make sure you do a better job of wrapping it up than I did! I almost cried when I got home to find it had broken in my bag.

9. Refill cups

My hand holding a colorful Royal Caribbean cruise line insulated travel tumbler, decorated with names of various ships like 'Liberty of the Seas' and 'Empress of the Seas', likely a keepsake from a cruise.

On Royal Caribbean ships, when you buy the drink package you’ll be given a cup that you can use for unlimited refills of soda from the machines. These cups are yours to keep.

They won’t work on your next cruise though, as there is something in the bottom that tells the machine which dates it is to work on.

10. Pajamas and robes

Cruise mummy taking a selfie wearing a cruise ship bath robe

Bathrobes are usually provided for guests staying in suites and some luxury cruise lines like SeaDream Yacht Club even provide guests with their own personalised pyjamas that are embroidered with their initials!

While personalised pyjamas are obviously yours to keep, in most cases, you have to give the robe back. Packing it in your suitcase won’t be seen as stealing, instead, the cruise line will assume you have purchased it and will charge it to your onboard account.

If you really do want a branded cruise ship dressing gown that’s fine. Just ask your stateroom attendant for a brand new one and buy that. It will be the same price, the only difference is that you’ll have been the only one to wear it.

11. Slippers

A single plush white spa slipper on a striped bedsheet, with a label around it displaying 'P&O CRUISES', suggesting a comfortable amenity provided on a cruise vacation or a souvenir from the trip.

Luxury cruise ships often provide you with a pair of slippers to wear in your cabin. It’s fine to take these home with you at the end of your cruise.

If you don’t, they won’t be used for the next person, they’ll be thrown in the trash, so you might as well wear them for a while longer at home! I usually get a good couple of months out of my cruise ship slippers before they get tatty.

12. Earphones

Cruise mummy and Cruise Granny taking a selfie with the buildings behind them while wearing cruise ship exclusive earphones

When you take an excursion with your cruise line they may give you a device with earphones so that you can hear the guide on your walking tour. You do have to give this back at the end, but the headphones that come with it are single-use only. So you’re free to keep these if you like.

13. Snacks

A toddler in a neon green shirt seated in a stroller on the beach, focused on a green lunchbox with a sandwich and snacks, with a blue water bottle beside them, and beachgoers in the background enjoying a cloudy day.

If you’ve ever cruised with young kids, you’ll know that they can’t go more than an hour without asking for a snack. And sometimes, even adults can feel that way too!

If you need to keep your hungry family happy on a long day shore, then it is okay to take some items from the buffet

Apples, bananas and oranges can be handy, but be careful – some countries like Mexico have laws that prohibit that to avoid spreading pests or diseases. 

Your safest bet is pre-packaged snacks such as little boxes of cereal, cookies or cakes. Not all ships have these, but you could bring a zip lock bag or a bit of tin foil and make yourself a sandwich if needed.

14. Casino chips

My hand holding a blue and white P&O Cruises casino chip with a £1 denomination, typically used as currency for onboard casino games or as a collectible souvenir.

I once met a lady who took a $1 casino chip from every cruise. She said it was cheaper than any souvenir you can buy, and I suppose she has a point!

If you haven’t cashed in your casino chips when the casino closes on the last night of your cruise you’ll be stuck with them. The casino isn’t legally allowed to operate unless the ship is in international waters.

So if you end up with a $1 chip in your pocket, nobody will care. The cruise line will probably just be happy that you’re spending money in the casino at all.

15. Spa flip flops

A pair of white flip-flops laid out neatly on a vibrant orange background, suggesting a summer or beach theme, often associated with cruise ship vacations or spa amenities.

If you go to get a pedicure at the onboard spa and turn up wearing closed-toe shoes, this poses the conundrum of what to do with your freshly painted toenails. In my experience, this usually results in being given a pair of flip-flips to take home with you!

Sometimes, these are disposable, polystyrene or cardboard ones, but quite often, they’re decent white flip-flops that you can wear around the pool.

Don’t steal anything else!

I’m pretty sure I’ve covered everything that you’re allowed to take from a cruise ship, but do let me know if I missed anything.

Most cruise ships have a library that’s well-stocked with books and board games for you to borrow. It’s really important that you return these at the end of your holiday, so that others can enjoy them too.

A wooden shelf stocked with a variety of classic board games such as Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, and Charades, alongside decorative cylindrical tins, suggesting a cozy entertainment area on a cruise ship or in a vacation home.

P&O Cruises used to have branded cutlery with the cruise line logo on. In recent years, this has been replaced with plain cutlery. My guess is that the branded logo disappeared much faster than the plain versions when people were looking for free souvenirs. Which is a shame.

Your room may come with extras like binoculars, an atlas or an umbrella, but use your common sense. If in doubt, ask your cabin steward or the staff at guest services and they’ll confirm what you’re allowed to take with you.


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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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3 thoughts on “15 Things You Can Steal From Cruise Ships (Without Getting in Trouble)”

  1. Jennie,

    Our first cruise was with P&O Sea Princess, 40 years ago, and the Restaurant was Silver Service; and I mean real silver cutlery embossed with the logo. There was a note on the table stating that the waiter was responsible for the cutlery and he would be liable for replacing it, So don’t take it!!! As far as I know, there was very little taken. 10 years later we were were on the same ship in the Caribbean, and all that service had gone, along with all the real wood and Brass.

  2. Debbie, I found your article “15 Things You Can Steal From Cruise Ships” most informative. On another note, you should write an article about things that could ban you for life if done on a cruise ship. Things like jumping over or fishing from your balcony or many other things that an idiot might think of doing.

    • Thanks for the suggestion! Jenni

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